Factors Influencing the Selection of Chemical Engineering as a Career


  • David C. Shallcross University of Melbourne


During 2000 and 2001, more than 2500 undergraduate chemical engineering students in fifteen universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Thailand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Vietnam were surveyed on the reasons behind their selection of chemical engineering as a career. The survey sample was drawn from all year levels and included students who had left their home country to study chemical engineering. Important influencing factors included the fact that students liked chemistry at school and they saw the profession as being involved in a diverse range of industries. Many students also agreed that they wanted to study engineering but did not like the other engineering disciplines. In Australia, New Zealand, and North America, careers teachers played almost no part in influencing students to study engineering. Very few students were influenced by role models. This paper presents the results of the survey in detail.

Author Biography

David C. Shallcross, University of Melbourne

David Shallcross is Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Melbourne and is Associate Dean (International) of the Faculty of Engineering. The author of three books, he is active in the secondary school community developing teaching material aimed at raising the profile of the engineering profession for school students.